As a teacher in Washington state, I'm obligated to attain a professional certificate, to take extra courses to prove I'm Genuine 100% Teacherly Goodness. I've decided to attempt National Board Certification. Here are four reasons why.
1. Professional Growth
Quite frankly, I'm not yet a good teacher, not nearly as good as I want to be, not nearly as good as my students deserve. I have several good teacherly qualities--passion, intellect, self-criticism, open-mindedness, personality--but I haven't yet perfected my instruction, assessment, and curricular design. (I have perfected the art of the tacky tie, however.)
Washington still provides a $3500 annual stipend for nationally certified teachers, and scholarships to help defray the $2500 program fee. Since national certification supersedes state requirements, and I have to earn a ProCert anyway, the choice is simple.
I've taught for four years, one more than the program requires. Next year is that magical fifth year when all goes well. Chances are, I'll have good classes again, in subjects I've already taught. That sailing's too smooth for this ship. I could stand 200-400 hours of extra writing, videotaping, and agonizing to maintain the chaos of my perilous voyage over the wine-dark sea.
Step one: national certification. Step two: teacher of the year. Step three: bestselling author status for my memoir, Lord of the Ties. Step five: Oprah confessional. Step six: public scorn upon the revelation that the memoir is only 43% true. Step seven: movie deal.